Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Calling Lifeline

I'm feeling behind with my blogging, which if ever I am going to be, is probably OK at this time of year as you may all be as busy as I have been... I feel your pain.

Last Friday I had a meltdown. I was off work (although being off work apparently means getting up in the morning and writing up clinics on the living room floor for an hour) and we were invited to Katie's and her husband's for a roast dinner with some of their friends. Katie is the sister I see most of despite our history. I think of her as a different person now. Yet it's still difficult and if I see her too much I find I feel the need to avoid her for a while. I don't know if the fact that I've seen her a lot lately had any bearing on what happened on the way home.

Adam and I got into an argument about something and we got really angry with each other. I don't want to relive it with you now but I felt SO angry with Adam and he was obviously angry with me. He drove home like a maniac and went in the house and slammed the door, leaving me in the car. That's when the meltdown happened. I can't cope with fighting with Adam. When we are not friends I feel like I have nothing left in the World. I have so little in my life that I feel is good that when Adam is angry with me I feel I have nothing left. If I don't have Adam, I have no one. I think this feeling was made much worse by the approaching departure of my psychologist, T, who as you may know from previous posts, I am much too attached to for anyone's good.

Ebony was out now. I put my seat back in the car and curled up in a ball did what I very, very rarely do: I cried and cried and sobbed and cried and bawled my eyes out (Ebony did). I must have stayed there for over an hour sobbing my heart out. By the time I sat up to look in the mirror my right eye was swollen up so much I couldn't even open it and I had lost the ability to breathe through my nose a long time earlier.

It's hard to describe how low I felt at that point. I thought about my life and the people in it and I felt so alone; I wanted someone to comfort me and talk to me. I realised that T and Adam are the only people in my life who have any idea of the pain I carry and who can support me in any way and at that moment, I had neither T nor Adam to lean on. I realised how lonely my life really is. My heart hurt so badly I wanted to die. I hoped it was actually going to break so that I would just stop living. It felt like it would. I was feeling all the pain of every hurting moment in my life. I didn't know what to do. I knew if I went back in the house, Adam would be there and the opportunity to self harm would be there if Adam was asleep. I couldn't bear just doing nothing so I wrote my T an email (from Ebony). I knew she wouldn't get it as she would be off on holidays but I didn't care, I just hoped it might help me to feel less alone somehow, or unburdened in some way. It was this:

I know you won't get this T but i don't know anyone else i can 
contact for help just now and maybe sending this will help me even 
though you won't get it until Wednesday. I'm in my car and i can't go 
in my house because i know what will happen if i do. i want to use the 
glass i hid in the house and if i go in i will an closer to it. i want 
to run away but i know I'm better to stay in my car. i feel so alone 
just now. i have no one. i don't know what to do. i can't stop crying 
and feeling all the pain at once. i need help but i don't know who to 
call. i can't go on like this anymore. I'm sorry for this and it not 
making sense. i just don't know what to do. it hurts too much. I'm 
sorry for bothering you. E

It didn't help much to be honest. Later on I found myself getting out of the car and walking down the road. I was still sobbing. I walked and walked until I reached the main road and I didn't know what to do so I went into the car park of the local health centre and curled up in the corner by a wall and continued crying. I knew it wasn't safe but I didn't care. I remembered that T had given me the number for 'Lifeline' before. I couldn't remember if it was only for people who were suicidal but I felt so lost and alone and hopeless and it was the only thing I could think of to help me at that moment. Maybe if I spoke to a stranger they could help me feel better enough to go home so that I wouldn't need to sit in the freezing car park all night and risk goodness knows what happening to me. So I dialled the number and braced myself...

A young sounding lady answered and asked how she could help. I hadn't thought this through; I didn't know what to say. The memory of ringing 'Childline' as an eleven or twelve year old and hanging up because I didn't actually know what was wrong with me to be able to verbalise it so someone popped into my head. I wasn't going to hang up this time. After she asked me if anyone was there I managed to express that I didn't know what to say. She asked me lots of questions about where I was and so on and wanted me to give her my name and address and date of birth and telephone number and I felt pressurised. I didn't want to share those details but I didn't have the strength of mind at that moment to protest too much so I gave in to all but my address.

We must have talked for a while and I did calm down while she was asking me questions but I couldn't help feeling that she didn't want me to explain to her what was wrong or help me in any other way except convince me to go home where I would be safer. I was surprised as well because I felt like she wasn't really listening to me. She kept interrupting and trying to finish my sentences and I picked up on a couple of things she said that showed she hadn't been listening to me earlier. I would have felt more angry if I hadn't been so desperate just to talk to someone. I tried to explain that I was scared to go home because I knew I would self harm but she didn't really seem to be getting it. The conversation helped in that her hassling me to get out of that car park was a distraction enough to bring out another part momentarily but as soon as she talked about going home or hanging up, the horrible feelings surfaced again and the sobs started again.

In the end I realised that this lady couldn't help me to feel any less alone. She talked on the phone with me until I got back to my house and then I got back in my car despite her protestations that I should go into the house and let her speak to my husband so she could tell him to remove my blades and glass etc. I said goodbye and continued sobbing well into the night. I don't really remember how I got back into the house but I do remember that Adam was asleep. I got into bed and cut my wrist with the glass and tears continued to seep out of my now balloon like eyes. Later on Adam woke and comforted me and I must have eventually fallen asleep at about four a.m. on what was now Christmas eve.

When I woke up in the morning my face was still swollen up like a balloon. My eyes were tiny slits in two big puffy balloons (does that happen to anyone else when you cry?). I continued to sob and cry as though the sleep had just been a short interlude and Adam did his best to talk through the argument with me and we decided to forget it. I wasn't crying about it you know. It was just the catalyst. The tears were for everything: for him, for my history, for T leaving, for my wanting to be dead, for my life that I am hating...

But Christmas goes on, whether you are happy or a puffy eyed, depressed alter and so I dragged myself out to Tescos to get provisions for the family gathering which was due to take place at our house that afternoon. I didn't care that people were looking at me in the shops in a way that suggested they were wondering what was wrong with my face. I didn't care that Adam's family would arrive at the house and wonder what the heck had happened to me. I didn't care that it was Christmas eve and I couldn't stop crying. I kept going and sooner or later the switch happened and huddling in the corner of a car park at 2 am seemed like a scene from a TV programme I had seen but not really taken in.

That was Friday. Now it is Tuesday evening and tomorrow is my last session with T before she leaves me for either six months or forever, depending on which way you look at it. I am dreading tomorrow. I am dreading how I am going to cope. I have been feeling physically rough today; I think just a consequence of the last three days of Christmas socialising and too many hugs and the chronic fatigue, but I have been pottering around the house, very slowly and feeling a bit like today is my last day to get things done before the inevitable crash tomorrow. I kept looking at the time and thinking 'this time tomorrow I'll probably be lying in bed crying'. I know you may say I am expecting the worst so I will probably get the worst, but I am not knew to this experience. Last time my psychologist left me I was completely naive and thought somehow it was going to be a positive thing for me and boy did I get a shock. I know exactly what to expect and if I am pleasantly surprised then that will be great.


ellen said...

What a horrible time for your T to be 'taking off'. Really I could shake her.

That sounds so difficult Candy. I'm glad you called the Lifeline, even though the woman who talked to you wasn't the best. Reaching out was the right thing to do. And sending the email was good too I think.

I also ended up in tears in the car Xmas eve - I had a fight with my son, after a stressful family dinner. It seems being Christmas makes every bad thing worse -heightened somehow.

Good that you and Adam are friends again. Hopefully he can support you through all this.

Can your T provide you with the new T's name and number right away? It would be good to start talking to someone new as soon as possible I'd think.

Candycan said...

Agh I'm sorry to hear about your fight. I know what you mean about it being worse at Christmas. Crying in cars is never good but it seems worse somehow at a time especiially when we expect to be happy.
I forgot to write in my post about my new therapist. I spoke with them on Friday morning and we've arranged an appointment for 5th Jan which may as well be a year away cos I have a feeling that the next days are going to feel VERY long.
Thanks for saying you think it was the right things to do. I feel a lot of guilt about both actions for some reason and it was helpful to get your feedback.

Anonymous said...

Hi Candycan

Just want to send you all my best wishes and to let you know I am thinking of you. Im so pleased to hear you have a new therapist. I know that must be extremely scary, but at least you re not going to have to go it alone.

Take care

Candycan said...

Thank you Erica, that's really kind of you to say so and yes, I should be looking on the bright side that I won't have to go it alone. It is a good thing. C

Meronym said...

I think the holidays are just a horrible sensitive time for everyone, even those who don't have something to struggle with normally. I had a couple of meltdowns in the last week or so, too. Just know that it'll pass. Get through the next hour. Next hour's problems are for the next hour. Just deal with this hour right now. Sometimes that's the only way I can get through.

Candycan said...

I like your advice MultiMe. There have been times where just thinking about how to get through the next ten minutes has helped me (I can apply this thinking to getting through the working day sometimes too). Thanks for reading.

Ruth said...

I am sorry things are so rough for you right now. It is so frustrating when you are trying to get help and they just don't hear what you are saying. I am glad you got to a safe place. I tend to walk for hours. I try not to walk so far I can't get myself back home. I like MultiMe's suggestion. Much smaller time increments. I used to do 5 minutes at a time. I got through a lot of stuff 5 minutes at a time. Sending wishes for peace for you.